has an average rating of 8.7 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 50gb disc
Dolby TrueHD 5.1 & Mono
with DVD ports, Trivia Track & book
– 93 minutes
This uses 22.3GB for the movie out of 30.6GB total.
Overall Verdict – Recommended Classic
— Review written by: Justin Sluss —
The Movie Itself is ranked #23 in “The Top 100 Movies of All-Time” by The AFI (American Film Institute). The film was co-wrote and Directed by the legendary Stanley Kubrick who’s previous film (at the time) was then the critically acclaimed “Lolita“. After he finished that film, he decided to pursue turning a story called “Red Alert” written by Peter George that he and his (at the time) production partner James Harris had acquired the rights to in aims at adapting it into a motion picture. At first Kubrick intended the film to be a serious approach about a mishap involving a paranoid U.S. military general “jumping the gun” and giving the go ahead to launch a nuclear attack on the country’s biggest enemy at the time, Russia. This plot soon was turned from serious into a comedy which worked much better, especially when Kubrick decided to bring along his friend from a previous film Peter Sellers to again play multiple characters in the film. Joining Stanley Kubrick on the adaption of book to screenplay were Terry Southern and non other than the original author himself, Peter George.
The first character that Peter Sellers plays we are introduced to is a British Royal Air force “Group Captain Lionel Mandrake” who works at a U.S. military base on a military exchange program. The base Mandrake works at on this exchange program is controlled by a U.S. military “Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper” who goes well, a little funny in the head. Ripper is a very paranoid man and thinks that the Russians are trying to invade his precious bodily fluids via the act of fluoridation. So like any reasonable raging paranoid lunatic with extremely way too much power in his hands he decides to do the unthinkable. Ripper gives the commands to a group of “his boys” in a B-52 bomber carrying nuclear payload to launch an attack on the Russians in what the military (here) refers to “Wing Attack Plan R”. That plane is being piloted by a “Maj. T.J. ‘King’ Kong” played by Slim Pickens who at first thinks this is a joke or test but soon decides to proceed forward with the nuclear attack.
Now obviously, you’re wondering where is the United States President during all this and most importantly how did he have no knowledge or way of stopping this attack command? The answer comes from the U.S. military “Gen. ‘Buck’ Turgidson” (played by George C. Scott) to “President Merkin Muffley” (another character played by the late, great Peter Sellers) in the United States “War Room”. As Turgidson explains to the President he voted in an act that would allow this to happen earlier in his administration. This leaves the President extremely, well for lack of a better term, pissed that the country isn’t in his full control and also leaves him extremely worried that this may trigger a third “World War” with the sworn enemy (at the time) Russia.
What follows is filled with the obvious laughs you’d come to expect from something carrying the genre title of comedy but it does hold a semi-serious message to the story that is to be learned from. It really is contained in the film’s very famous subtitle which was likely created by Kubrick himself; “Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the BOMB“. This states that you shouldn’t be filled with paranoia and fear about the likely event of a nuclear war. You should stop worrying and learn to love the bomb simply means that you should come to love the end of things as it truly is not “THE END” that you expect, it’s only a new beginning.
Overall, looking back on “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb“, it was easily my own personal favorite of all of Stanley Kubrick‘s wonderful films. I also think it said a whole lot about humanity as a whole as well as humanity as a hole — pun intended.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte dual-layered Blu-ray Disc) in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio. The film, for those of you too blind to have noticed or just I guess never seen it, is presented in Black & White so I have to mention that first right off the start. Black & White material usually makes for some of the best and most compelling Hi-Def transfers out there and this is by no means an exception — although not something that will “jump off the screen” visually. The black level here, obviously is VERY solid and that leads to semi-perfect detail emphasis especially in close-ups. The overall tone to the transfer may still seem “soft” by today’s standards but keep in mind the film IS celebrating it’s 45th Anniversary here in this Blu-ray release. Also keep in mind this was shot on 35mm film and that the Hi-Def transfer is very well likely the same restoration / High Definition master used on the latest DVD re-release. Speaking of which, it’s a really nice improvement over the latest DVD re-release of the film and will leave fans extremely pleased with the visual presentation. “Dr. Strangelove” in it’s Blu-ray Disc debut earns a very solid “4 Star Rating” for overall video quality. In one last end bit here, I’ll state that Sony appears to have kept the film print intact as it was originally intended without any extreme use of Digital Noise Reduction (DNR) or Edge Enhancement (EE). This holds the correct amount of film grain and noise that you would expect and is sure to even please the purest of a “purist videophile”.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in both a new Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround sound mix and the original Mono Dolby Digital 2.0 @192kbps track as well. I’ll start off by saying that this film has never really been a film that had too great of a 5.1 mix on previous DVD release, given that it was originally recorded in Mono. This time around though the folks at Sony actually decided to make more use of the rear channel speakers and especially the subwoofer. The film starts up the Narrator speaking and then the planes refueling in midair serving as visuals with the beautiful musical accompaniment leaving you in somewhat ‘awe’. The music throughout the film, originally done by Laurie Johnson sounds very nice in the 5.1 mix and makes nice use of the soundscape. Some of the exterior scenes involving the (model) bomber hold a great amount of bass to replicate the sound of the engines which is sure to leave your subwoofer shaking the room a tad bit. Dialogue, which is by all means most important in this dark comedy, is delivered perfectly throughout in both the 5.1 and Mono mixes — never requiring any volume adjustments. All and all, “Dr Strangelove” in it’s Blu-ray Disc debut earns a respectable, solid “4 Star Rating” for overall audio quality.
Bonus Materials are in Standard Definition video quality using MPEG-2 and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound @192kbps.
- BD-Live is included on this Sony Blu-ray Disc release. This allows users on a “Profile 2.0” capable Blu-ray Disc Player to access online content and download content such as trailers for upcoming films and such from the studio. No new title-specific content is available here, which is a shame.
- “The Cold War: Picture-In-Picture and Pop-Up Trivia Track” uses Bonus View to deliver PIP video clips and pop-up facts throughout the film.
- “A 32-Page Booklet” is included in the Blu-ray Disc packaging which is very similar to the “DigiBook” Blu-ray Disc releases from Warner. This proves to be very informative and includes some wonderful still art such as the theatrical poster, actor and Kubrick biographies and filmographies as well as a wonderful retrospective on the film itself.
- “No Fighting in the War Room Or: Dr. Strangelove and the Nuclear Threat” (30:04) takes a further look at the “Cold War” and the threat of a nuclear war that American citizens went through. This includes interviews with many important public figures including Film Critic Roger Ebert, Bob Woodward of “The Washington Post“, Film Director Spike Lee, Actor (Co-Star) James Earl Jones, Robert McNamara and many more. Even James Harris who was a business partner with Stanley Kubrick from 1956 through 1962 also chimes in with some input on Kubrick‘s personal opinions on the threat of an eventual nuclear war or mishap of some sort that could start “World War III”. This doesn’t just focus on the bomb, it also focuses on Kubrick‘s research he did on the bomb for the film and the impact the film and bomb have both made on the human psyche over the past 4 (going on 5) decades, as well as obviously it’s influence on pop culture. You can’t help but laugh when you see the footage of the “Duck and Cover” routine strategic prevention method of surviving a nuclear blast that school children were taught back in these days. The hypothetical idea of a real-life “Doomsday Device” (mentioned in the film) is also discussed here which is very interesting, yet also disturbing.
- “Inside: Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (46:04) serves as your basic retrospective / “making of” featurette that focuses more on the film and not the bomb itself like the previous featurette. Lots more interviews are offered here which all prove excellent but the documentary is narrated which works much better. This offers a very precise time line of how the film came to be developed, cast, filmed and eventually released. This documentary serves as a great supplemental material and is very informative. For instance, you’ll learn here how much effort it took them to construct “The War Room” for the film and even more. I could go on forever with names of those who offer up interviews and facts we learn here but instead I’ll save it for you to watch. Here you’ll see more pictures of the infamous “Pie Fight” alternate end sequence that was cut from the film.
- “Best Sellers Or: Peter Sellers and Dr. Strangelove” (18:27) offers up the best clips of Peter Sellers playing the 3 different characters in the film as well as interviews with other public figures discussing his acting in the film and the rest of his career highlight roles and gigs. This proves to really be a great little tribute to the late British comedian but I also suggest you check out his other films or mock biography film “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers” starring Geoffrey Rush.
- “The Art of Stanley Kubrick: From Short Films to Strangelove” (13:50) takes a look at the life and films of the legendary director. This proves to be a definite MUST-SEE if you never saw it on previous DVD release.
- “An Interview with Robert McNamara” (24:26) a.k.a. “A Conversation with Robert McNamara” is very enlightening. For those of you who don’t know, McNamara served as Secretary of State for 7 years, namely during the JFK administration — through “The Cuban Missile Crisis” and the “Cold War“, which obviously played strong influence in the film this featurette is for.
- “Split Screen Interviews with Peter Sellers and George C. Scott” (7:17) gives us pre-recorded responses the actors did in promotion for the film from the set of “Dr. Strangelove“. Sellers discussing English (British) accents is an absolute treat even though this is essentially a fake promotional interview. It shows how good of an improve actor he was.
Overall, the bonus materials we get here are mostly comprised of the obvious DVD ports but we do get some new things such as Sony making their second attempt at a digital booklet release similar to Warner‘s “DigiBook” Blu-ray Disc releases. The booklet is very much worth the read and contains some wonderful artwork as well, giving it a collector’s appeal of value as well. The new Trivia Track that makes use of Bonus View is a definite treat as well. Overall I think fans of the film both new and old will like what they get here but not be totally blown away. The one thing I think is missing that should have been included is the original theatrical trailer which you can fortunately find above (available on YouTube).
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Bare with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.